Thursday, September 8, 2016

Chaplaincy lesson 4

I am not sure if I related this fact about myself: I am a Chaplain in STARFLEET International, the world’s largest Star Trek fan association.

Attached are the exams I took as part of my Chaplain training in SFI.


Rev. Russell Witte-Dycus

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chaplaincy Program, Lesson 1 &2

Lesson 1:

Chaplains, the only thing I knew of them, was in the movies. They were in the military and prayed over the individuals of the dead, or dying on the battlefields. Years ago, I only thought they were Catholic too.  Those days are long past and now that I am older, my views on a Chaplain have expanded.  Anytime you come into contact with new information, we as a people, will review it, discuss it and dissect the important parts.  This is to allow the new information to integrate with the old and we thus progress in our life cycles.  I have learned that there is SO much more to this field of Spiritual Caregivers and one I embrace whole heartedly.  I am a Pagan, and I currently am a High Priestess of a group located in Fargo, ND.  As a whole, we are a rare breed of Chaplains and in the midwest, we are not that common.  I have met only one other Wiccan Chaplain and her primary ministry was in the prison systems.  In general here, we are not fully recognized and therefore we do not have the luxury of working full time as Chaplains.  The others I have spoken to, still have regular day jobs and work as Chaplains either in part time or volunteer capacity.  It is my hope for us to change that.  Just like with any other faith, Wiccans or Pagans are also in other facets of life.  We are in the military, prison's, in covens, groves and groups.  We recognize Chaplaincy and as a whole, welcome the person's status as such.

Today, my vision of Chaplains in Society are Spiritual Caregivers.  They are there to provide a service in any religious capacity that the person requires of us.  We are chameleons in a gray world that usually has little or no understanding of the work that they do.  Over the last year, I have learned so much just by speaking to a few.  I now know that the Chaplain has to have a grasp and full mastery of all major religions as a whole and to be able to provide Spiritual care and advice in any situation.  The ministry of Chaplaincy fills me with awe every time.  They are on the front lines so to speak. They are able to be more fluid, where as Priests as a whole, stay within the confines and regulations of their church, diocese and congregation.  To a Chaplain, everyone that we meet with for spiritual care, automatically becomes a part of our "congregation" and we have the freedom to meet those needs, anytime, anywhere.  This does not mean that I feel traditional Priests or Rabbi's or Imams are in a static position.  Far from it.  But there are times when no one of a person's faith is available.  Sometimes we could be called in as a last resort, but I am absolutely happy to start my role as Chaplain, once I fulfill this course and program.  As a rule, we Pagans and Wiccan's are very inclusive, with no judgement on other people's faiths.  Even so, I would be happy to minister to a Catholic, a Jew or Muslim, even if I was the only person available.  It is them that need the Spiritual Care, it is to the public for which I will serve in the future.  

Lesson 2:

The mark of the Divine. This is such a scary thing and I concur that is was just as horrifying in my case.  Over the years, I never considered myself marked. But after thinking about this lesson, it has brought me to different times in my life where I now rethink the events.  I can think of several people I know certainly have the Divine Spirit that is marked and etched deep within their souls.  One of them was my first Lutheran (I was raised in the Lutheran Missouri Synod Faith) Pastor.  Pastor Bartels.  He was such an educated man, wrote 6 theology papers that were published and a few books as well.  But he was quiet and humble and had the best sense of humor too!!  He laid things out for you in a way you could understand and didn't make snide comments or rude assumptions if you disagreed with a particular philosophy or by-law.  He was willing to discuss such hard questions, even when I was so young!  I'm talking around the age of 10.  If that man was walking down the street with a coat on, not evan seeing his Vicar Collar, you would still have stopped in your tracks and thought....There is something about the individual, I can't put my finger on it.  

What set's these people apart??  In my own practices as a Pagan, I can now explain it to myself.  Or at the very least, have a better answer to that then when I was younger.  It is the person's energy!  Everything in the universe is made of molecules and energy and matter, even ourselves.  We can feel a person or have intuition if you like to think of it that way.  I truly believe that a person who is, was or will be called into Spiritual Service, is marked by a higher vibrational rate.  Even if that person isn't aware of it.  It's what draws people in to them, it's what gives a person the feeling of comfort and understanding when in their company.  It's how they carry themselves, their confidence, even when they are lacking it, it's by their actions, even when not aware of it.  That something pulls you in and this is what sets them apart.  Every circumstance is unique and all their life's experiences are training modules for when they recognize their call for what it truly is.  It is through that, that they are able to provide the care that is needed.  

If you were to ask me how did I know I was marked, I will tell you, I didn't even know it myself until recently.  I have had this discussion with several people over the year, including my husband. Strangers that I meet have said the same thing over the years, but I ignored it, and thought "Yeah Right!"  I guess I really never thought of myself as a marked person of the Divine.  But events over the last year and a half, coupled with the choices I have made, led me to an "AHA" or "DUH" moment.  Even to myself, I can't tell you what sets me apart either, Do I carry that energetic presence that is "Other"?  I truly don't know.  But I do know, that my wakeup call, just like everyone else that finds themselves in the same boat late in their life, it is now a spark of hunger and a great desire to be in Ministry.  Once you are called and can finally recognize it in yourself, it is a scary thing, for you are constantly thinking your nothing special....Even though others tell you otherwise. My husband has told me, "I knew you would end up in the ministry of some capacity, your thirst for knowledge and you are always questioning things."  And "The Pagan community here needs someone like you, you just have to get over your fears." Pastor Bartels once said to me, "God calls to those who will listen.  Now whether you call the Divine powers Jesus or Bhudda or Mohammed or just the Great Spirit is up to you.  It's what you do with those entrusted gifts that matter."  When I decided to join a Coven here locally, the High Priestess and her Second, (Usually called a Handmaiden) both looked at me when I got to my interview portion and said..."You are High Priestess written all over you..We have work to do to help you prepare where we think you are headed."  There are other moments, but honestly, I still don't think of myself as "Special"...I am who I am.  That is good enough for me.  

My calling for going into ministry and specifically Chaplaincy was a long 3 year process.  Again, it was only in the last year and a half that it has dawned on me.  It started when I have been asked to perform funerals for people in the community as well as from out of state.  I felt a tug, a pull that I was on the verge of something happening within me.  Then I got asked to go to what is called A Death Midwife..or Death Doula as they are commonly called in Europe.  She asked for my help, and during that experience, this was my AHA moment.  She later told me, that she knew without a doubt, that I needed to be there, even though we were strangers.  After praying, meditation and anything I can think of, I have come to conclude that my ministry as a whole, will be specializing in the death and dying process.  I feel so passionately about helping the sick and dying with their processes, being there for them so no one dies alone. Helping the families about after death care, the washing, the paperwork involved, assistance with the funeral directors.  So much so, that I am now a volunteer at our Hospice.  The Director of the building came in even during our training session, took a look at me and said... "Wow, I just have goosebumps being in your presence...What is your name?"  We've had a long talk since and although he is devout Christian and he knows I am Pagan, we share in the same goal.  When he found that I was already an ordained Minister, he asked if I was interested in Chaplaincy there at the Hospice directly.  I told him that three years ago, I wouldn't have been...but today, today I am taking my first steps to where everyone was telling me I needed to be.  And you know what....they were right. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to seeing others answer's that are in the same program with me.  

Omni Rogers-Mueller

Friday, August 26, 2016

Master Of Chaplaincy Lesson 2

Master of chaplaincy Lesson 2

I had the privilege of being part of Willow Creek Church in the early years. In those years I spent some time with all the leaders. Bill Hybels always struck me as ‘set apart’, there was a quality about him that could only be described as lead by the Spirit.

I have been told I have the Hand of God upon me, it was very evident in the first few years after my acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now it more tempered, rational, and less confrontational, but it is still there. I get approached on a regular basis by people for spiritual guidance.

My calling is interesting. I have been called to be the spiritual leader of several groups. Those groups having members of different levels of spirituality and widely variant paths. My challenge there is to learn more so that I can properly minister to all those wonderful people.

My Officiant ministry has grown from a casual, occasional, something I do into a full-blown small business. I perform 30-40 weddings a year, a funeral and baptism occasionally. For instance, I have performed the weddings for all of one family’s children. I am one family’s ‘go to guy’ for funerals (thankfully not too many of those) and I have performed 3 of the last 4 funeral services for my own family.

Rev. Russ, the Rent A Preacher



Monday, August 22, 2016

Lesson 1

Write out a short paragraph or two on what you know of chaplains.

My first conscious knowledge of "a chaplain" came from the TV show M.A.S.H. The army chaplain the character portrayed had a quite calm about him as he spiritually supported all ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations with non-judgement total acceptance.

I had no personal experience with a chaplain until my mother was placed in hospice. There was a chaplain at the hospital hospice who gave that same quiet strength during his visits. His quiet presence, a gentle touch all gave comfort and support. I watched him "just be" with patients who were close to transitioning and had no family to be with them. He held their hand, just breathing with them and praying. They were not alone when their soul returned to God.

Does your faith group or religion have chaplains or not?

Judaism does have chaplains who have advance Jewish studies such as Rabbis and Cantors. A lay person may also become a Chaplain, but only if they have completed advanced Jewish studies. All Jewish Chaplains must complete a year internship before becoming a Chaplain.

What is your view of chaplains and their role in society today?

In my opinion, chaplains have a vital role in today's society. More and more people are not affiliated with an organized religion for a variety of reasons. People are more transient that ever, leading them to seek opportunities far away from the support of family and friends. The chaplain is available to minister to these people in a myriad of settings and situations. 

Rev Ann Kurtzman 
(754) 999-0318
Beach Weddings, Elopements, Commitment Ceremonies, Vow Renewal 

"Every once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale." 
– Unknown

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Chaplaincy course

My one overarching comment is that I am a much better person, ordained minister, and counselor after this course. Looking forward to serving! Sincerely, James T. Evans, Colonel, USAR, (Retired)

Monday, February 22, 2016

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Trying to enter Chaplain Blog

Good Morning,

I am having difficulty entering the Chaplain Blog please advise. I am using an IPhone.

Blessed Day,

Tracy Rubinetti

Sent from my iPhone